The Ontario Hockey League (OHL) made an expected move today when it comes to the start of their 2020-21 season. Also, Germany released the list of players who tested positive for COVID-19 as they prepare for the start of the IIHF World Junior Championship. Finally, a Boston Bruins prospect will remain in Russia and an Anaheim Ducks draft pick shows why the fan base is excited about his arrival.
OHL Pushes Back Start of Season
Following a meeting between the OHL Board of Governors and general managers, the league has decided to delay the start of the 2020-21 season even further. The plan was to have players starting to report following the World Junior Championship. Training camps were to begin in mid-January with the start of the regular season slated for Feb. 4, 2021. None of that will happen now and no new target dates have been announced.
This announcement is far from a surprise after Doug Ford, the Premier of Ontario, announced a province-wide 28-day lockdown to help curb the spread of COVID-19. The OHL will continue to work with local officials to come up with a potential starting date, but they are running out of time to have a meaningful season.
“The safety of all of our stakeholders and communities is our priority and we are committed to starting the 2020-21 season when it is safe to do so,” the league said in an official statement. “We know that this is difficult news for many of our players, fans, billets, parents, staff and teams. However, the restrictions both provincially in Ontario as well as nationally with regards to cross-border travel have informed our decision.”
Germany Reveals Positive Cases
It seems we have spent more time in this daily column talking about COVID-19 that goals and draft rankings, but such is 2020. There was some concern that Germany would not be able to field a full roster for the World Junior Championship, which begins on Friday.
This morning, they released a list of all eight players who had positive tests once arriving in Edmonton.
The players on the list are goaltender Florian Bugl, defensemen Maksymilian Szuber, Niklas Länger and Lucas Flade and forwards Joshua Samanski, Markus Schweiger, Jan Nijenhuis and Filip Reisnecker.
In order for all these players to return to the ice they must through an extensive multi-day protocol. They must be approved by both the team doctor and the IIHF’s medical department before being deemed fit to play.
Germany’s top two players, forwards Tim Stuetzel (Ottawa Senators) and JJ Peterka (Buffalo Sabres) were not on the list. Please sure you are following our THW team for all your World Junior Championship coverage needs.
Shen Heads Back to Russia
With the status of a 2020-21 American Hockey League season still up in the air, the Bruins have loaned a recent draft pick to the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) for the remainder of the season. According to Mark Divver, who covers the Providence Bruins, forward Pavel Shen has been loaned to HC Sochi. He can return to North American following the conclusion of the AHL season.
Shen was drafted by the Bruins in the seventh round (212nd overall) of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. He played 35 AHL games last season, scoring four goals and nine points for Providence. He signed a three-year, entry-level contract with Boston in July of 2019.
Zegras Dazzles on the Ice
Finally, some on-ice highlights from an actual hockey game. The United States and Finland squared off in an exhibition game on Tuesday night, ahead of the start of the World Junior Championship. One of the top players on the American roster, center Trevor Zegras, made the highlight reels.
Although there was no goal scored, this might have been the most skilled play of the entire night as Zegras created his own space and passing lane to set up a prime scoring chance.
These are the play-making skills that led the Ducks to select Zegras with the ninth overall pick of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. He had nine assists in five tournament games for Team USA at last year’s World Junior Championship. If you read any of our Ducks coverage, who can see why they are so excited to have Zegras in their system. It is only a matter of time before he is in the NHL to stay.
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.